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Marcela Bovio - Unprecedented album review

Soaring chamber prog with a Latin twist from Gentle Storm collaborator Marcela Bovio.

Mexico is famous for many things, but, sadly, prog isn’t high up the list. Bands like Iconoclasta and Nazca might have touched the consciousness of prog fans, but unlike many countries Mexico hasn’t had a breakthrough scene. Perhaps Marcela Bovio could change that.

Now based in Europe, Bovio’s list of credits is impressive: recorded work with The Gathering, Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon, The Gentle Storm and Mayan, her debut solo offering draws deeply on her classical roots. Unprecedented is a suite written for Bovio’s soprano voice and the Dudok String Quartet. Given Bovio’s classical training, her arrangements are effortless.

Drawing on the starkness of 20th century classical music, songs such as Alicia and The Cartographers generate exquisite tension; the subtle use of electronica on Dime is reminiscent of Penguin Café’s recent collaboration with Cornelius. While other tracks such as Stars – which showcase Bovio’s classical technique – are striking, more experimentation would have been welcome. The soundscape, however, is gorgeous, a testimony to Bovio’s understanding of the possibilities of classical instruments. A collaboration between Bovio and iamthemorning. However, Bovio deserves to be a star in her own right.